Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Killing Culture: One Step At A Time

So my City's at it again...

After shutting down century-old establishments to make place for office space when there are empty lots available in the same area, after shutting down smaller-sized independent music venues (fitting anywhere from 50 to 250 people a night) either by force or by constant annoyance-becoming-too-much-of-a-nuisance, after getting caught giving construction contracts to their Mafia friends, and despite all the corruption scandals of the past 3 years still being re-elected (albeit with a minority) - they're finding new ways to annoy small business owners and independent artists.

This time, it's by sending $2000 fines for any artist, venue or promoter of any show being postered in our not-even-clean streets. That,s right - the one way to get your show known to the populace, the one promotional material that actually became a known and respected art form elsewhere in the world (Gigposters, for example, lists 8841 recognized poster artists whose works can be purchased from anywhere between $12 and $400; some have even gone to reach over $1000 on Ebay).

Show posters have been a staple of real cities' lampposts since the 60s (notably, at that time, in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles). A city that bans them is a city that refuses to let its citizens evolve with the times, as they are a testament to what is going on, culturally, at that given time; I guess too many posters out there were advocating and advertising protests and marches (again, totally fitting of our Time, considering the massive corruption all three levels of governments have been involved in)...

But if no one had gone to see Arcade Fire in 2003 due to seeing their names on posters outdoors, would they have been one of the biggest bands in the world in 2005? How about the wave of Seattle bands in the early 90s, whose show posters now reach thousands of bucks for people who want to sell them? How about the Fillmore Auditorium - would it be the Cultural Icon it is today (and has been for the past 45 years) had it not been for the trippy psychedelic artwork of their posters and flyers?

Worst of all, still: there are still posters up there, really ugly ones for crappy movies and mainstream artists' Christmas shows - but they're all put up by Affichage Sauvage, a company allowed by the city to put up their crap, because they're part of The Machine, they're subsidized by the big radios - and the indies can't put up their hand-drawn, spectacular, original, passionately limited-edition, and made from actual human sweat works of art.

Fair system, eh?

Take the power back.

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